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One of the things that separates humans from animals is our unique ability to express emotion by shedding tears.
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Learn why we like to cry. One of the things that separates humans from animals is our unique ability to express emotion by shedding tears. Certain animals like elephants are known to shed tears, typically due to an irritant in the eye. Animal tears in response to physical pain have been rarely observed, and crying out of joy or sadness is a strictly human characteristic. Michael Trimble, professor at the Institute of Neurology in London and author of the book ‘Why Humans Like to Cry’ said: “Tears are necessary to keep the eyeball moist, and contain proteins and other substances …to combat infection. Tearing occurs in many animals in response to irritants which get in the eye.” Other primates don’t cry, but humans tearing up when something emotional happens is a natural reaction. One theory about why humans evolved the ability to cry is as a way of signaling other humans that they were vulnerable, without tipping off potential predators. Other theories say that tears evoke feelings of empathy from people around us, and help us develop close personal relationships and strong communities. What do you think? Is being able to cry an evolutionary advantage?